Football fans know that Howie Long has been on two successful teams in his career – a Los Angeles Raiders squad that won Super Bowl 18 and the Fox Sports studio crew that dominates the Sunday pregame ratings on NFL Sundays. It’s easy to forget that the Hall of Fame defensive end has also been part of a winner in Hollywood, too.
Howie Long earned his place in the Hall of Fame
It’s almost hard to believe that Howie Long has now been retired from pro football for more than a quarter of a century after an impressive NFL career with the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders. He spent all 13 of his seasons with the franchise and was selected first-team All-Pro twice. Long also appeared in eight Pro Bowls, including his final two years, before retiring after the 1993 season at the age of 33.
Long came into the league in 1981 as a second-round draft pick out of Division I-AA (now the FCS) Villanova. He made the first five of his 151 starts in 1982 and began a string of five straight Pro Bowl selections in 1983.
Long, Lyle Alzado, and rookie Greg Townsend were a formidable three-man front in the 1983 season in which the Raiders were fourth in the league in total defense. He piled up a career-high 13 sacks that season, which ended with head coach Tom Flores’ team beating the Washington Redskins, 38-9, in Super Bowl 18 in Tampa.
Howie Long, credited with 84 official sacks (he had 7.5 as a rookie before the stat was recorded), entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in the 2000 induction class that included Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott.
Howie Long has been a fixture at Fox Sports
Howie Long has now been part of the Fox Sports studio team for twice as long as his career with the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders lasted. His retirement after the 1993 season coincided with Fox winning the rights to NFC games in 1994, and he has been part of the pregame and halftime shows since then.
Long, whose sons Chris and Kyle also made it to the NFL, earned a Sports Emmy Award for work as a studio analyst in 1997, the first of 10 consecutive nominations in the category, according to Fox Sports. The honor was followed in 2019 by induction into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
He had a prominent role in ‘Broken Arrow’
Jim Brown, Joe Namath, O.J. Simpson, and Brian Bosworth are among the many pro football players who acted in Hollywood motion pictures during or after their careers. Howie Long joined the fraternity in 1996 when he won a role in Broken Arrow alongside Al-list actors John Travolta and Christian Slater.
Still carrying most of his 6-foot-5 and 265-pound frame from his playing days, Long played the sidekick to Travolta’s character, who was trying to steal and detonate two nuclear warheads during a desert chase.
The opportunity came about in part from intra-company synergy as Twentieth Century Fox produced it. John Woo, who was also behind the camera for Hard Target, Face/Off, Mission: Impossible II, and Windtalkers, directed.
“I had no idea who he was,” Long admitted shortly after production wrapped up. “And he had no idea who I was. Which I think worked to my favor, because he had no preconceived idea of what to think.”
Slater, however, knew Long as a football star and was eager to take a run at him. He asked for a scene to be inserted in the script in which he would fight Long’s character.
“Christian was lobbying really hard to beat me up,” Long told The Morning Call. “They told him he wasn’t that good of an actor.”
Broken Arrow was the top-grossing release its first two weeks in theaters and took in $150 million worldwide.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.